Our GREAT Christmas Tree Adventure!

The GREAT Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Road into our Great Christmas Tree adventure
Our drive North was incredibly beautiful! We seemed to follow the sunshine all morning!

The Christmas Tree is the center of all your holiday celebrations!

What do the holidays mean to you? Every year there is one thing that is the center in each of our homes and that is a Christmas tree. Today I present our GREAT Christmas tree adventure.

It is also a center to most of our childhood and adult memories, both built and shared. Every Christmas memory I have as a child was lit in colored lights. I vividly remember falling asleep looking up at the lights under the tree, all warm and toasty in my pajamas from the heat of the fireplace.

Christmas lights were multi colored ones for me as a child, white as a teen and most of my adult life, and now back to color. When the LED lights became much more inexpensive a few years ago I took the dive and reinvested in all new colored lights for our home! It was one of the best decisions I made that year. LOL!

The anticipation of the adventure feels like childhood for me!

Do you remember what it used to feel like when you went to bed Christmas Eve? All the anticipation of the next days festivities built up inside you so that it almost made it impossible to sleep? That’s how I feel the night before we go pick our special tree.

It is a special day that takes on a new adventure and more memories each year. Each year is different and this year was very special.

Our gear is pretty simple when we go and anyone can do it!

There is something really special the morning of tree cutting and, fortunately, it’s becoming habitual for both of us. We dress up in layers. First a tee shirt, then a flannel, and then a heavy sweater. We tie up our hiking boots with care, as not to have them come undone while carrying the tree. The tree can be very heavy and cumbersome. I go more into depth in my original Christmas Tree Adventure Post. Always wear blaze orange when walking into the forest in the late fall.

I head down to the kitchen to pour a big cup of fresh coffee and all I can think about is where the road will lead us to this year. Will we go back to the same spot, find somewhere new, or have a fire road pop up as we drive that seems to just call us?

Throwing our winter coats in the Jeep, we board up for the day. H will pack the trunk for our great Christmas tree adventure the evening before. We always bring extra water and coffee along with some protein bars. Have enough rope and make sure to pack the saw when you go. You definitely don’t want to run out of rope or forget your saw!

This year we brought chairs to rest when we are done and able to just enjoy the outdoors. I bring along my hiking poles depending on the weather. The footing off the beaten path in the forest can be dangerous. Natural bush covered in snow can be a challenge to navigate. Take your time and go slow.

We take our topographical map, a compass, and multiple cameras. Normally we have a tendency to argue a little when we are getting ready to leave for a Northwoods adventure. Who has what and what are we forgetting. The tension naturally builds as we want to get out and get going. This doesn’t happen on Christmas tree day.

The Christmas Tree Adventure is always a special day to remember forever!

It’s a special day, the day of our Christmas Tree adventure. It’s a day to find that centerpiece for the holidays that everyone will celebrate around. The tree is such an important part of everything we do around the holidays.

It is also a place to reflect on the past year. It’s where we reflect on what we have accomplished and who we have become. What we have endured and overcome. Who we are as a family. We host a lot of get togethers and parties every Christmas and it is always topic of conversation.

Little H and big H
This is our pre adventure pic this year! I’m such a morning person and H is a good sport LOL!

Before we climb in the Jeep and pull out, we take a picture to mark this year. A kind of before and after. It is such a special treat. Our task for the day is just to adventure! To find a special place, be together, give thanks back to the forest for its bounty and its blessing.

H is in charge of remembering where we are, and I kind of navigate where we go. I always remind him as we journey to remember where we are. I am not mentally keeping track of location because I am searching for the perfect Christmas Tree. He carries the compass as I try to sniff out our path. I know that might sound silly, but I am typically good with the find, and he is with the return. It’s just how our relationship works.

Some safety tips and reminders!

If you choose to take this journey, I would definitely recommend the same for safety and for fun. The “journey” can be where ever you want it to be.

The return has to get you back to your Jeep or truck. That can be tricky at times. Once you start searching, it becomes a quest and it’s easy to lose track of time and your “whereabouts.”

Sun on tree

We usually leave early in the morning as the sun is coming up so we can have the whole day to ourselves. We let her lead us. I am a sun sign, a Leo actually, and react well to her guidance. The sun can change my entire mood. And this year she lead us straight to our find.

The forest was incredible on our GREAT Christmas Tree adventure. She calls to me, both the sun and the forest. It’s such a place of peace it’s unreal. If you haven’t hiked in the winter months you are definitely missing out. There is a special kind of peace in the forest in winter.

Where did we go on this Great Christmas Tree Adventure?

We usually head north of Shawano on Hwy 55 through Keshena. This year we found a lost dog as we came into Keshena and had to stop and try to help her. She was wandering through the roundabout and cars were almost hitting her. She looked so distraught.

I pulled the Jeep over to see if she was ok, as she was clearly injured or hurt. She had a collar on and a car had almost hit her as we drove by. I ran into the convenience store on the corner to see what we could do to help because she wouldn’t come to me as I called to her. We called the tribal police with the help of the nice ladies inside and went back out to look for her. I hope she found her way home.

As we leave Keshena we go north toward Boulder Lake and the bottom of the Chequamegon- Nicolet National forest. When we get to the bottom of the forest it’s literally luck and feeling from there.

We have a special place we typically go, but I wanted to find somewhere new to connect to this year. And we did. I hate to give away our secret spots because I want to encourage you all to find your own.

Chequamegon is a place that feels “good” to me. It’s a place you can visit and spend time. To hike, have a picnic, or just enjoy nature. The place you cut your special Christmas Tree is usually in a place of solace, of peace. It’s somewhere you can give thanks to the forest for providing you with it’s bounty. The forest is a place to remind you that we all owe quite a bit back to mother earth. We need to give more than we take, and be better human beings.

The holiday season is a very special time!

This time is a time of peace and giving, the holiday season is a special time in life. Each year we are reminded of all the good we have done throughout the year and also that maybe we need to “ante up” a bit in certain areas.

We need to do more! We need to be better to the earth and to each other. Nothing will help you remember that more than a GREAT Christmas Tree adventure in the forest. Best of all, nearly anyone can do it.

You can harvest a tree right from the road side as long as you are not within a 1/2 mile from a developed campground or within 100 feet from a hiking trail. Harvesters are asked to consider aesthetics and safety. I’ll include the link here on where you can go and more specifics about harvesting a tree.

Path to our Great Christmas tree adventure

You can also read all about last years Great Christmas Tree Adventure and get more tips on the specifics, along with your permit, maps and more here!

We are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful states in the union. There is so much to explore. There is nothing other than $ for gas and a map that can stand in your way on your own GREAT Christmas Tree adventure.

Our Great Christmas Tree Adventure!

I would love to hear your Christmas Tree Adventure story!

If you do decide to go I would love to hear about your quest in comments. So please share!

There is a special feeling I get when I get out of the Jeep for the first time in winter to set foot in the forest. The air is cool, crisp and full of scent. You can see your breath and it is so fresh it fills your lungs with peace the moment you breath!

Being in the untouched natural home to thousands of animals that surrounds you can be a humbling feeling. You are now on their turf and we all need to protect it. This is a special place in our big world that is still left mostly untouched by man’s hands.

It reminds us who we are and where we come from. Each year there is a little piece of that for you to take home, enjoy, and celebrate. Five dollars of the cost for you to have your own Christmas Tree adventure and help rejuvenate our national forest.

Every time you take a tree from within the forest, that is within a larger group, you create an opportunity for new growth!

New growth is what sustains our land. The peace and sense of self you will take back with you is also priceless!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Happy Holidays Wisconsin!

I wish you all a very incredible holiday season! May you find peace this year, stay healthy, and enjoy the season!


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